I hope that this isn’t obvious only to me, but if we honestly peel back the layers of the issues that face our society, they have a single common cause: people.

We can limit who owns guns and we can mandate equality for any number of groups, but does that resolve the real issues? Before readers wholeheartedly agree, when I say we have a people problem, I don’t mean “that person” or “that group,” I mean us. Me, you and every individual. It isn’t about guns, carbon, sugar or what is or isn’t politically correct. It’s about how each of us treats our family, our loved ones, our co-workers, those we are responsible for, those who are responsible for us and even someone we will never cross paths with again. That has always been and always will be the starting point for the real solutions to our problems.

My initial reaction is probably that of most people: OK, but you first. Not this time. I need to change, you need to change, we need to change.

Don Mussell, Eden Prairie

JAMAR CLARK CASE

A true dedication to justice wouldn’t be single-minded

A Jan. 5 letter writer says: “If you care about justice for Jamar Clark, don’t make this about how you feel about a tweet. Get in the streets.” If you only care about justice for one person, you don’t really care about justice. We’ve heard two different sides of the story. I’d like to hear what investigators are able to determine.

James Brandt, New Brighton

• • •

“The economic impacts of police violence” (Opinion Exchange, Jan. 5) merely compounds the impacts of the preexisting citizen-on-citizen violence that features the abundant presence and frequent use of guns. The resulting economics has been described as crime resulting in more people in poverty — businesses and customers avoiding violent areas — rather than more people in poverty taking up a life of crime.

Crime creates and perpetuates poverty more than poverty creates crime.

Steve R. Marquardt, Lake Lillian, Minn.

 

MUSLIM PRAYER BREAKS

But then, isn’t food safety also a people-oriented priority?

It is easy and convenient to feel sorry (Readers Write, Jan. 5) for employees who don’t get their prayer breaks in a meat-production facility if production requirements necessitate that they remain on the floor working. (They still get their regular mandated breaks.)

I believe that the overall public good is best served when a perishable protein product is handled in the manner that provides the highest level of food safety, from harvesting through production into packaging in a well-controlled and managed environment. I for one, do not want my beef, pork or chicken left sitting on a production line when it should have been moving along in a timely manner so as to prevent unnecessary exposure to pathogens, bacteria, etc.

There is a public trust involved in this that requires all parties to be diligent in pursuing only the safest quality food products.

Roger Nunn, Edina

 

IRAN-SAUDI RIFT

A leader lost (again), but ideal of nonviolent progress lives on

What do Mahatma Gandhi, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and Sheik Nimr al-Nimr have in common? All three of them stood up for human rights. Gandhi was the leader of India’s independence movement; King was the leader of the African-American civil-rights movement, and Nimr was a human-rights and democracy activist in Saudi Arabia.

All three got their messages out through nonviolent resistance. In an interview with BBC, Nimr said: “The weapon of the word is stronger than bullets, because authorities will profit from a battle of weapons.” Since they stood for justice, they themselves practiced justice. Since they stood for peace, they approached it through peaceful means.

All three great men preached pluralism. Gandhi sought a nation where people belonging to different religions could live peacefully. King sought a nation that did not judge people by the color of their skin but by the content of their character, and Nimr sought a nation in which people have rights to peaceful protests, elections and an end to the marginalization based on beliefs.

Last, they were all assassinated for their beliefs: Gandhi in 1948, King in 1968 and Nimr this year, beheaded by the Saudi government. Gandhi’s dream of an independent India came true; King’s dream for racial equality came true and, if history is any indicator, Nimr’s dream will come true. It shall be known to all oppressors that awakening is not suppressible.

The world cannot keep silent while we lose such prominent figures. Yes, we can mourn, cry and become saddened, but we need to keep their message alive and achieve it through nonviolent ways.

Mohamed Shivji, Brooklyn Park

 

OREGON STANDOFF

If it’s also ‘terrorism,’ then what of Occupy? Or Madison in 2011?

Where was the liberal outrage when the Occupy Wall Street gang was on the rampage? Did the left label them as terrorists? How about when Wisconsin teachers and sympathetic unions and liberals packed and shut down the Capitol in Madison? By a Jan. 4 letter writer’s definition, those people are also terrorists.

Doug Clemens, Mesa, Ariz

 

RIDE-SHARING AT MSP

Shouldn’t consumer interest and demand be a guiding principle?

Once again we see a discussion without any mention of those who should be the real focal point. I am talking about the Jan. 5 article about whether to allow UberX and Lyft access to Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. The entire discussion was about the taxi companies and the upstarts. No mention of the consumers who obviously would like to use UberX and Lyft. Let’s face it: Change is disruptive, but that does not mean we should block change with government regulation. Let the marketplace make the decision.

Loren Berg, Rio Verde, Ariz.

 

NORTHERN WINTERS

We second the motion: We live in snow country and love it!

Thank you to the writer of the Jan. 4 letter “Get those boots on and get outside.”

My husband and I are retirees living in a northern Wisconsin lakes area. We are Minnesota transplants, have lived in many cities and states, and have traveled extensively. The change of seasons is what keeps us here year-round! The summers and falls are beautiful; winters can be challenging at times, but there is no other place we’d rather be. Research shows that people living in northern Midwestern states have a longer life span than do many Southerners.

I, too, have many fond winter memories while growing up in Duluth, among them ice skating, sledding and snowmobiling. So, bring on those snow-shoveling days, chilly winter nights and snowshoe walks by moonlight! Get out and enjoy!

Phyllis Bernard, Danbury, Wis.